Save Farmers! Save Agriculture! (Jantar Mantar farmers protests, Delhi, India)
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It has been more than 4 weeks our Tamilnadu farmers are protesting in Jantar Mantar, New Delhi in whatever ways they can. This is not just to draw the attention of our Government but it is also an indicator of negative growth in Agriculture sector.
They have been protesting using macabre elements like bones and skulls to highlight and symbolise the problem of farmers suicides in the state going half naked. Also by biting live rats and dead snakes showing the symbol of drought. And by staging a mock funeral. They have been refused to submit their petitions to PMO office, and as a result they have gone to their extreme and stripped in public to draw the attention of people and the government.
“A nine-member farmer delegation went to meet the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and submit our memorandum of demands but the PM did not meet us. We were returned from the reception, so disappointed by this we protested” said P. Ayyakannu leader of the protest. (Source: New Indian Express)
Yes, the past 2 years have been drought hit nasty years which has resulted in huge loss to our farmers. They claim that the skulls which are used for protests belong to fellow farmers, who had committed suicide because of the adverse conditions in Tamil Nadu. More than 106 farmers had committed suicide in a month because of the worst drought to hit the state in more than a century, combined with debt due to high input costs.
The demands of the farmers so far:
- Waiver of farm loans
- Drought relief of Rs.40000 crore
- Setting up Cauvery Management Board to resolve water issues with Karnataka
6000 farmers have committed suicide in the year 2014. There is a 42% increase in suicidal rates for 2015(Source: Times Of India). With an increase in farmers suicide in the year 2016 also, more than 400 farmers have committed suicide only in TN(2016). Being continued with this kind of situation, the count will multiply heavily in the coming years.
When it is possible to write off Rs.7000 crore loans of Mallaya, Surya Pharmaceuticals and rest others, why can't to them? People who have bought such huge loans are living happily in cities while our farmers are protesting for their lives.
The main reason behind farmers suicide is their debts. Debts in agriculture are a result of increasing costs of production, because of the dependence on purchased inputs – seeds, fertilisers, pesticides, machinery – and the falling prices of farm produce. This traps the farmers in a negative economy, where cost of production outstrips their earnings.
The government does mention doubling farm incomes, but fails to mention whether it is gross income or net income. Gross income can increase if a farmer grows a cash crop with high debt, without taking care of the family’s food and nutritional security. But in this case, the net income will go down. More often than not, with high debt, the net income will be negative. Net negative incomes are at the root of the debt crisis and the epidemic of farmer suicides.
The government should remove the middle men concept while purchasing from farmers. For e.g., 1kg of rice is purchased from farmers at the rate of Rs.25 by middle men and sold to distributors at the price of Rs.40. Finally it reaches the common man who has to buy at the price of Rs.55. Middle men concept kills both the farmer and the consumer.
For a permanent solution the government should take necessary steps for interlinking of rivers across the country. Well it is a long term plan but then the state government should start implementing the methods to interconnect water resources within their state. By implementing this, there will be 0% chance for drought in our country despite the failure of monsoons.
Horrible to see such protests, getting only less amount of attention from people. We have to thank our lovable media for this.
In the phase of development of our PM's Digital India, let us start a digital protest from here.
This petition, is to request our government(both Central and State) to pay attention to our farmers as quickly as possible and resolve their demands.
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